Identity theft is becoming increasingly more common because personal data is often stored on digital platforms that are easy for thieves to access. A conviction for identity theft can result in a number of penalties, so anyone who has been charged should build their defense with the help of an Arcadia identity theft lawyer. Simmrin Law Group has a diverse selection of talented attorneys who can help you avoid criminal penalties.
What Is Identity Theft?
If you have been charged with identity theft but are not even sure what the crime entails, it would be helpful to learn exactly what identity theft involves. Identity theft is a crime that occurs when a person obtains another person’s personal information, then uses it to perform fraudulent actions. People typically use stolen identities to achieve financial gain in some form.
Obtaining another person’s personal information alone is often not enough to qualify someone for being convicted of identity theft. That is, unless they have been found to be in possession of multiple stolen identities at once. Holding multiple stolen identities can result in the offender being charged with trafficking stolen identities, which is a felony offense.
If someone is caught with another person’s personal information, the authorities should seek to discover whether that information was used for illicit purposes. When plaintiffs can prove that they did not use the personal information illegally, charges can be dismissed or reduced. Achieving this outcome requires a strong defense, so rely on an identity theft lawyer in Arcadia to help you fight.
For a free legal consultation with an identity theft lawyer serving Arcadia, call (310) 896-2723
The Consequences for Identity Theft
Identity theft has several consequences for victims and individuals who are found guilty of perpetrating the crime. Victims are often left with excessive expenses that have been racked up in their names. After identity theft occurs, they also need to work closely with a variety of organizations to ensure that their identities are secure for the future.
Because the consequences for victims can be tremendous, offenders do face troublesome penalties if convicted. The severity of the penalties depends largely on the circumstances of the identity theft. Prison or jail time and fines are the usual penalties that apply in identity theft cases.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Identity Theft
In California, misdemeanor identity theft convictions typically result in up to a year of jail time and a maximum of $1,000 in fines. Felony convictions may lead to significantly more time in prison. For felony identity theft, there is a maximum of three years in prison and $10,000 in fines if convicted.
If someone uses a stolen identity to commit crimes, this case may be considered to have aggravated circumstances. If the situation is aggravated, two years can be added to the normal prison sentence someone receives in their judgment.
Arcadia Identity Theft Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Is Identity Theft a Felony?
Identity theft is sometimes a felony offense. The context of the case will dictate whether your identity theft charge is tried as a felony or misdemeanor. Cases that only involve theft of $1,000 or less are likely to be tried as a misdemeanor, while cases that involve theft beyond that amount have higher chances of being tried as felony offenses.
Whether you have been charged with misdemeanor or felony identity theft, hiring an Arcadia identity theft lawyer is the ideal method of escaping punishment. With an Arcadia identity theft attorney representing you, you have a better chance of proving your innocence and avoiding the maximum sentence. For those facing felony charges, a skilled attorney can be truly invaluable.
Defenses for Identity Theft Charges
If you have been charged with identity theft, you were likely found to be in possession of another person’s information. This alone may not be enough for the prosecutor to convict you of the crime. There are several defenses that can be used to have identity theft charges reduced or dismissed.
Failure to Give Miranda Rights Warnings
When a person is arrested, police officers are not allowed to question them until they have been presented with their Miranda Rights. The Miranda Rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have a lawyer with you during interrogation.
- If you cannot afford an identity theft attorney in Arcadia, you have the right to have a lawyer appointed to your case without any cost.
- Any statement you make can be used against you as evidence in court.
If you are not provided with a Miranda warning during the span of your arrest, this can be used as a reason to dismiss your charges or make your statements inadmissible in court. So, if you admitted to stealing someone’s identity but had not been read your Miranda Rights, your Arcadia identity theft lawyer can help you move to have anything you said to the police struck from the record.
Lack of Intent
Holding another person’s identifying information is not a crime. There is a caveat, though. Someone who has the information and intends to use it unlawfully can be convicted of identity theft.
If you have been caught with personal information that belongs to someone else, the prosecutor must prove that your intent was to use it for illicit purposes. Without intent, there is no crime, so cases can be dismissed on these grounds.
The Owner of the Information Gave You Consent
If you can prove that the owner of the personal information you held had given you express permission to use their information, that would be enough to minimize your level of guilt. Having permission to do something with another person’s information means that using the information is not illegal. The best way to enact this defense is by producing documentation or witness testimony that proves you were given permission to use the defendant’s information lawfully.
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Build an Effective Legal Defense
Your freedom and financial security may rest on your identity theft defense. To ensure that you face the minimum possible penalties for your identity theft charges, work with an Arcadia identity theft lawyer to develop a defense strategy.
Simmrin Law Group would be proud to help you get started with a free case evaluation. Use the contact form on this page to get in touch with one of our representatives.